Session: #508

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Preserving the “Living Heritage” of Abandoned Lands. Archaeology and Sustainable Practices to Protect and Conserve Upland Landscapes
Europe’s upland rural heritage is the complex result of an interaction of nature and culture over millennia. In these areas, both archaeological research and local communities can play an active role in the conservation and protection of landscape and rural heritage. However, current conservation measures and land-use decisions often fail to consider relevant aspects, such as the historical dimension of upland landscapes, perceiving and managing them as “natural” places, or the contribution of local practitioners in sustaining their environment.
This session aims to discuss and define a “living heritage” approach to landscape conservation, through the historical-archaeological reconstruction of local stakeholders’ cultural values, expertise, and practices.
Archaeological research can highlight the process of marginalization that has affected upland areas and their heritage. The progressive abandonment of historic practices, such as agro-forestry-pastoral ones, is leading to the loss of the intangible heritage those practices represent and of their wider social and environmental benefits.
Moreover, archaeological analysis can help preservation policies such as, for example, historic building ones, that often seek to preserve the physical form of rural buildings without regard to their broader cultural values and historical uses. Yet every rural building was created through relationships of environmental resource management, production and trade. Reconstructing these networks can lead to better conservation, protection and use of these assets, through a better understanding of their character and function.
The session aims to explore other aspects of this issue and the possibility of:
-Identify stakeholders’ cultural values and local expertise, useful in conservation practices.
-Define best practices of conservation measures, such as ‘protection through use’
-Promote collaboration among local institutions and communities and realise effective participation in the conservation, protection and sustainable development and use of upland landscapes
-Suggest new tools to policy-makers, that will allow taking into account the historical dimension of rural places.
Living heritage, Rural heritage, Uplands, Landscape, Agro-forestry-pastoral practices, Environmental resources management
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Alessandro Panetta (Italy) 1
José María Martín Civantos (Spain) 2
Chris Dalglish (United Kingdom) 3
Anna Stagno (Italy) 1
1. University of Genoa
2. University of Granada
3. INHERIT (Institute for Heritage & Sustainable Human Development)